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A look back at 2023 with Activity Alliance

As 2023 draws to a close we have taken the opportunity to look back at some of our major achievements this year.

A group of people pose on an athletics track.

We began the year by welcoming our new CEO Adam Blaze. He returned to the organisation after starting his career 18 years ago as a regional development officer with the English Federation of Disability Sport, the charity’s name before its brand refresh in 2018. He started in the role with a strong message around the work that we do:

“We have the ability to create change, to change people's lives for the better. Through sport, physical activity and allowing people the opportunity to get active. Through no fault of their own, people don’t have access, we can change that. We have the ability to get rid of some of the unfairness that exists in the wider systems.
“Where you're discriminated against or excluded for things that you have no control over. That's not right. Our vision is clear and we will work, day in day out, to achieve fairness for disabled people in sport and activity.”

That need for change was highlighted by our Annual Disability and Activity Survey that was released in June. It found that the rising cost of living and its wider impact are having a negative effect on disabled people’s activity and wellbeing. It also highlighted worrying signs of an increase in loneliness for disabled people over the last four years compared to decreasing levels of loneliness for non-disabled people.

For the first time the survey was released alongside a set of requests to Government. These included, delivering cross-government action with a Cabinet-level position to co-ordinate its work, increasing the Disability Cost of Living Payment from£150 to £200, to support disabled people to keep active and provide safeguards to reassure disabled people that being active will not threaten their benefits.

A series of webinars have been hosted to discuss the findings, with another scheduled for 23 January.

The National Junior Athletics Championships returned in July with youngsters from across England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland taking part in more than 60 races and 20 field events. The event was attended by hundreds of spectators and volunteers, including 60 members of Lions clubs from across the country. Sport England Chair, former Olympic gold medallist Chris Boardman MBE, and Coventry’s Paralympic star Kare Adenegan also attended.

Our events team also hosted the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships. Held in Coventry it saw more than 100 young para-swimmers from across the country compete.

Get Out Get Active (GOGA), a national programme, continued to support both disabled and non-disabled people be active together. Now in its eighth year, it has reached over 130,000 people. This remarkable figure was celebrated in October at the GOGA celebration event. It brought people together from across the UK to recognise the importance of their work.

Our strategic partnerships team continues to be a driving force behind much of our work with the sport and leisure sector. They have worked with National Governing Bodies of sport, Active Partnerships and many key partners to enable them to be more effective in supporting disabled people to be active.

The Inclusion 2024 hub was updated in November and is now easier to use than ever before. The hub offers education practitioners across England access to all the essential resources for inclusive PE in one space. It is designed to support more teachers responsible for PE and school sport to engage more disabled students. Allowing more young people to have accessible, positive, and meaningful PE experiences that will last a lifetime.

This snapshot is a tiny amount of the work that goes on as we continue to fight for fairness for disabled people in sport and activity. A lot of it would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our supporters. We would like to thank them all for their dedication throughout 2023, we look forward to working with them in 2024.